Abstracthiphop is a subgenre of hip hop that tends to focus on broader philosophies and abstract ideas than typical hip hop. The genre often features lyrics that are written in an unconventional style, often using extensive metaphors and word choice.

Ethos: a blueprint for what defines hip hop

Hip hop, as a black cultural form situated at the nexus of late-modernism and post-modernism, embraces contradiction by privileging and undermining notions of what is real. Its characteristic spirit embodies five core doctrines:

Properties of flow, layering and rupture

In hip hop’s authorized exhibition of blackness, its intertextually-positioned continuities and ruptures generate sensation and spectacle. This generative quality turns consumption into new modes of cultural production and meaning-making.

The principle of productive consumption is also rooted in an economy of sharing (e.g., communal car ownership) and in the pursuit of social and economic justice through collective action. These doctrines are enacted through practices of sampling, graffiti writing and fashion that, in turn, represent the fusion of local and diasporic blackness.

Hype: a way of creating attention

The production of excessive publicity or promotion, often called “hype,” has long been an enduring characteristic of hip hop. In this respect, hip hop artists and affiliates frequently employ textured vocal embellishments such as working in the red and adlib vocal recordings to generate performance-oriented exclamations that gesture towards ensuing commotion.

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